It always amazes me that we celebrate the resurrection only one day a year.
We go on and about Christmas, but without the resurrection, there would be no Christian faith. Without the resurrection, Jesus would be remembered as a teacher who said some wise things, if he was remembered at all. More likely he would be forgotten, like all the other leaders of messianic movements, (there were lots of them) whose movements died with them.
In his book, Living the Resurrection: The Risen Christ in Everyday Life, Eugene Peterson examines how the risen Jesus comes alive in us. Peterson begins by noticing the sense of wonder that’s common to the resurrection accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. This wonder is expressed in five ways:
First, the resurrection caught everyone totally unawares. Jesus repeatedly said he would die and be raised on the third day, but nobody believed him. Resurrection is not something we master. We have to let God continue to surprise us.
Second, no one did anything to prepare for the resurrection. No one’s worldview in the first century allowed for a person to be raised from the dead in the middle of history. So Peterson says, “Everyone is a beginner in this business. There are no experts.”
Third, marginal people played a prominent role in the story. In the same way, it will be the poor, minorities, the suffering, the rejected, poets, and children who have the most to teach us about resurrection.
Fourth, the resurrection took place quietly, without publicity or spectators. The changes the risen Jesus wants to make in us will come quietly.
Finally, the most common response to the resurrection was fear. It’s still true with us. We’re afraid when we don’t know what will happen to us, or what God wants to do in us.
Will you allow the risen Jesus to come alive in you?